Study: Diet Soda May Spur Consumption of More Meals and Snacks

Researchers at John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health have found that drinkers of diet soda are tipping the scales because they increase their consumption of calories from solid foods.

The study looked at 24,000 adults across the United States who were overweight or obese; some consumed regular soft drinks, while others consumed the low-calorie versions. This paradigm is unique because other studies had only compared normal weight and overweight persons, when looking at caloric intake of food and beverages.

The data was compiled from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted between 1999 to 2010 and the results were published in The American Journal of Public Health last week.

Sara Bleich, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and lead author of the paper tells National Monitor:“Although overweight and obese adults who drink diet soda eat a comparable amount of total calories as heavier adults who drink sugary beverages, they consume significantly more calories from solid food at both meals and snacks.”

Overweight diet-soda drinkers ate 1,965 calories a day compared with the 1,874 calories in solid foods consumed among those who drank regular sugar-sweetened beverages. Obese diet beverage drinkers, ate 2,058 calories a day in solid food versus the 1,897 calories for those who choose regular-sweetened drinks.

Bleich suggested that artificial sweeteners may affect the metabolism or cravings in the body, but more research is needed to establish a correlation between diet soft drinks and weight management.

There was another study published last year in General Dentistry that looked at the effects of artificial sweeteners in the mouth; researchers found that the amount of damage to the teeth is comparable to the use of crack cocaine and methamphetamine.

S.C. Rhyne is a blogger and novelist in New York City. Follow the author on twitter @ReporterandGirl or on and visit her website at

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